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Microtia: Information and Options for Parents

A couple awaiting their first child almost always finds strength repeating "as long as it's healthy." Unfortunately, Microtia affects some children at birth.

A couple awaiting their first child almost always finds strength repeating the mantra, "As long as it's healthy," when asked if they would prefer a girl or a boy. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. While there are certainly more serious conditions a child can be born with, Microtia -- a deformity affecting the ear -- can present aesthetic and practical challenges for the newborn. As surgery does not become an option until much later, and even then there is certainly no guarantee of having a "normal" looking ear, the child must be prepared to deal with some degree of taunting and derision. For a parent, this can be heartbreaking. Here is some information and options for parents that find themselves in a tough position.

Surgery

Many parents find themselves considering surgery for their child born with Microtia. It is a viable option, but most doctors will not consider the procedure until the child is between 7 and 10 years of age. Most surgeons believe in using the child's rib cartilage to build the most natural looking and feeling new ear possible. A child will not have enough cartilage in that area to do a successful procedure until he has reached the aforementioned age bracket. This means that no matter what, the child will have to deal with socializing with the deformity for some time before it can be corrected.

Cost

Unfortunately, surgery to correct Microtia is seen as falling into the cosmetic category in most instances and will not be covered by insurance. Surgery of any kind is expensive. Try to find a surgeon who is not only competent and capable, but is willing to work with you when it comes to payments. Doctors understand that it is difficult to come up with the thousands of dollars that a surgery costs to perform. You may even be able to find a center that provides lending and financing for such a procedure.

Prosthesis

In some cases, going with the child's natural cartilage is not the best approach. In those scenarios, many surgeons will instead offer the option of going with the prosthetic device. Older patients can particularly benefit from this alternative, as their natural cartilage may be too hardened to successfully transplant. If you're concerned about the invasive aspect of extracting rib cartilage or your child has extenuating conditions that would make the surgery difficult, ask your doctor about a prosthesis and whether or not that might be a better option. For a child with MicrotiaPsychology Articles, it is worth exploring all possible alternatives.

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